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A Call to Order

I learned something really cool about Moodle’s ordering questions. If you are familiar with these, skip to the last two paragraphs; otherwise, read on for a description of them and how they work.
Mark Delonge turned me on to “ordering” questions in Moodle a couple semesters back. They are great for any content that needs to be put in the correct order. An example might be putting the American wars in the correct chronological order. At a micro-level, this could be putting the events of a particular war in order. If your content field has anything that needs to be put in a correct order (DNA, proper procedures, etcetera)  this may be for you.
Question listing American wars to be placed in order.
I built ordering questions with as many as 30 items. I then tell Moodle to pull 4 or 5 or all 30 items (whatever I want) at random. This way, the student never gets the same question twice. This allows me to build a partial practice exam and tell my students that they can practice the ordering questions as many times as they wish before the exam. I can pull from the very same questions during the actual exam because the random selection makes for different questions each time.
Here’s the cool part. I’ve been making these practice questions available for several semesters but only a few folks play with them–even though I mention them often in class. As of the Thursday before Finals, 44 attempts had been made on my practice quiz which had been available for two months. The last day of content delivery I put aside 15 minutes to have everyone pull out a device or to gather with others who had devices and do these questions together. On Monday there had been 190 attempts. So, from 44 attempts in 2 months to 146 attempts in 4 days.
Early exam results are that it’s making a positive difference too. By simply leading the horse to water, I made it more likely that it would drink, and drink it did.

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